Thursday, October 30, 2008

Merry Autumn

It's all a farce,—these tales they tell
About the breezes sighing,
And moans astir o'er field and dell,
Because the year is dying.
Such principles are most absurd,—
I care not who first taught 'em;
There's nothing known to beast or bird
To make a solemn autumn.
In solemn times, when grief holds sway
With countenance distressing,
You'll note the more of black and gray
Will then be used in dressing.
Now purple tints are all around;
The sky is blue and mellow;
And e'en the grasses turn the ground
From modest green to yellow.
The seed burs all with laughter crack
On featherweed and jimson;
And leaves that should be dressed in black
Are all decked out in crimson.
A butterfly goes winging by;
A singing bird comes after;
And Nature, all from earth to sky,
Is bubbling o'er with laughter.
The ripples wimple on the rills,
Like sparkling little lasses;
The sunlight runs along the hills,
And laughs among the grasses.
The earth is just so full of fun
It really can't contain it;
And streams of mirth so freely run
The heavens seem to rain it.
Don't talk to me of solemn days
In autumn's time of splendor,
Because the sun shows fewer rays,
And these grow slant and slender.
Why, it's the climax of the year,—
The highest time of living!—
Till naturally its bursting cheer
Just melts into thanksgiving.
by Paul Laurence Dunbar

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Winter Is Coming.

How can we be sure ?*
The thermometer read 29 at 8am this morning.
The ground was covered in
a thick icy coating ...
a beautiful, sparkling First Frost.
Not only was this our First Frost.
It was also our first Hard Freeze.
Winter won't be long in coming now ...
UPDATE: Thursday
We had another hard freeze last night.
Despite covering, a few of our brocolli plants
and all winter squash plants were killed.
Oh well -- there's always next year, right ??

Monday, October 27, 2008

Burrrrrrrrrrrrr !!





It appears we finished our Winter Preparations "just in time" ....

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Finishing and Beginning

The Titans finished their fall soccer season on Saturday.
The team was UNDEFEATED for the season !!
Wooooo Hoooooooo !! Yippeeee !! Hip-Hip-Hoorayyyy !!
Coach W did a great job, and Cherub 5 enjoyed playing for him.
You do know that purple hair makes you run faster, right ?
Cherub 5 insists this is true.
And in "testing" it seems to work.
HA !
This evening Beck's Bounty will host the
Titan's End-Of-Season Soccer party
complete with hotdogs and s'mores
roasted over the bonfire.
Yummy !
On Saturday afternoon, the 6 Cherubs and I decorated the area around the front door (and the porch) for Autumn.
We all had a grand time trying to assemble our first ever Scarecrow -- but finally our efforts and ingenuity paid off with a pretty nice Scarefellow.

Beginning tomorrow morning (Monday), we will settle in for several weeks of "staying-home-more-during-the-week" so that we can focus intensely on Term 2 of our school year. We will finish up Term 2 just before our Christmas Break ... and will begin Term 3 in January.
We have some fun things planned for weekends in November and December, but we are going to try to keep our outside commitments limited to weekends (and late after-school afternoons) so that we can stay "on track".
Why is being "on track" so important, you ask ?
Well, for two main reasons -- because we have planned two potential extended-weekend Ski Trips in January (assuming the weather is cold enough for snow making). So, we HAVE to be "on track" with our school work so that we can take those few days off to go skiing.
Can you believe it that it's time to begin thinking about SNOW MAKING in the south ?

Friday, October 24, 2008

Warm Woolies

The leaves have s-l-o-w-l-y been changing into their Autumn splendor.
Now there is chilly air creeping closer, so they seem to be changing hourly. Today, the woodstove is going, and the house is warm and cozy.
And outside it is cool (low 50's) and damp, with rain falling off and on (hooray !).
We have been sipping cups of warm tea today, in between trips to and from the attic.

Why so many trips to and from the attic, you ask ?
To get out all of the Warm Woolies, of course!
Today is the end of our Life Skills week --
the week we took off from formal school to
get ready for fall and winter.
It has been a very busy, very productive week indeed !
Our final project is that we are swapping out clothing today.
We are trading shorts for pants, short sleeves for long,
bathing suits for long johns, and linen for flannel or cordoroy.
And we are learning about materials, proper "fit", and more.
After all of the trying-on, folding, and hanging is finished
we will pack away the summer clothing for next year.
Along the way we are writing
a list of "need-to-buy" items for each person.
Thankfully, it appears we do not
need to buy very much at all.
God is soooooo good !
And so are friends who pass along hand-me-ups and downs.
The final step this afternoon ....
to get out all of the winter coats, ski pants,
hats, gloves, and scarves ...
... because winter will be upon us in no time.
That hardly seems possible, doesn't it ??

Thursday, October 23, 2008


Early voting has started here, so I voted today while I was in town.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Life Skills Week

The public schools take a few days off in early October for "Fall Break". And although I am sure the children (and teachers) appreciate the break, our children had a better idea !!

They decided we would take a week off from "formal schooling" too, but instead of just taking a "break", they wanted to focus on learning Life Skills instead. Charlotte Mason encouraged "Handicrafts", which were not really "crafts" but rather skills to be used in real life -- woodcarving, sewing, repairing of clothing, cooking, weaving, and also many "life skills". What a wise woman she was -- to have seen the benefits of such training resulting ultimately in skilled, accomplished, competent adults !

For a good list of REAL handirafts and lifeskills, check this article by Simply Charlotte Mason.

So, the children have been busy learning the hands-on details (the HOW's and WHY's, if you will) of getting ready for winter. These lessons are great preparation for adulthood, for owning their own homes, for being car owners, and ultimately are great training for being better "stewards" someday.

We washed all of the "millions" (HA!) of windows in this house, inside and out. We used commerical cleaners, dish soap, and just vinegar --- to test the results. (We decided plain vinegar works better than commercial cleaners by far for the inside panes, and that dish soap mixed with water works best outside to cut the grime.)
Everyone took turns learning how to caulk around the windows -- selecting the correct types of caulk for certain projects, how to apply it properly, where to put the beads of caulk, and of course the "why's" were covered too. This house has settled since it was renovated in the early 90's and almost every caulk-line was dried and split -- no wonder it was so drafty in here last winter. HA ! Needless to say, everyone got plenty of practice !

We also caulked around all of the "pipe holes" under the sink cabinets. Cherub 3 did a great job of this (and did not mind having to lean into the cabinets while working either).

We set up the wood rack in the carport and filled it with our first load of firewood for the season. The Chimney Sweep came on Monday to clean the chimmney and to Safety Check the woodstove (and taught many Life Skill lessons to the children while he was here -- the basic how's and why's of chimney cleaning and wood heating).

We removed all of the old smoke detectors, not knowing how old the ones in this house were. (By the way, regular "battery type" smoke detectors are supposed to be replaced every 5 years despite the packages listing 10 years. This is according to the fireman we spoke to about it. Also worthy of note is that batteries should be replaced every year, even if they are still "good", at a designated time to ensure they continue working well. We usually do this at the end of October.) We then installed 12 brand new smoke detectors. (This was an important project for us, after our house fire in 2007. Our smoke detectors were BLASTING when the fire started ! We promise that you can never been too careful when it comes to good working smoke detectors, and there are "proper" places where they should be placed. Please ask your local fire department if you need more information.)

On Tuesday afternoon we lit our first fire in the woodstove. This old house stays quite toasty IF we can get the walls warm before it gets too cold outside -- if the walls are cold (as well as the weather), this house is tough to get "toasty". So, we are trying to get an early start as the nights are getting quite chilly here.

We applied large amounts of weather stripping around all of the exterior doors after removing the old weather stripping -- Cherub 3, Cherub 4, and Cherub 6 really enjoyed this project. Because it was breezy on Tuesday, we lit a candle and held it in front of the "cracks" in the doors to look for drafts ... then we applied new weather stripping, and checked it again with the candle. It is amazing, again, that we stayed warm last winter -- every door was in serious need of weather stripping.

We also rolled a bit of new insulation in the basement and tried to seal up the little windows that are down there. It is tough to "winterize" the basement though because part of it is concrete (floor, walls, ceiling) but a lot of it is just a dirt crawlspace which is open to the rest of the basement. But we gave it our best try. Our children were tasked with finding a few more economical ideas to help winterize the basement -- so we will see what they come up with.

While in the basement, we gave the pipes, wires, power box, and hot water heater a good dusting and cleaning.

We used brooms and mops to brush a year's worth of cobwebs (and dust !) from the exterior of the house. The spiders seem to enjoy building webs along the exterior of the house -- the children giggled that IF we participated in Halloween, we would already be decorated with REAL webs rather than fake ones. HA ! We were able to identify several new kinds of spiders, and tried very hard not to hurt the spiders but only to remove the summer's worth of webs and debris.

We "swept" the ceilings and cleaned the ceiling lights and fans inside the house -- spiders like the inside too. (HA !) DadToCherubs taught the children the basics of how to change a ceiling fixture when he replaced a non-working light with a new one. And he had a whole bunch of helpers, of course.

We scrubbed and dried all of the woodwork and doors -- there is A LOT of woodwork in this house. HA !

We raked up the fallen leaves and hauled them to the garden, where they can rot into the soil for next year's vegetables. This project brought about another big discussion regarding soil -- how to build good soil, what to and not to use, how decomposition works, and more. We will continue this project until the last half of the leaves have dropped.
* The chicken house got a good cleaning, and all of the "rakings" were added to our compost pile. We lined the floor with several inches of wood chips, and stuffed the nest boxes with fresh straw. Oh, and we bleached the waterers. The "ladies" seemed very pleased with the results of our labor. HA !

And we mulched our brocolli plants, that are still growing well, with a heavy layer of straw, as well as our green pepper plants that are still producing pretty heavily. It looks like we might have some fresh brocolli in just a few more weeks, but in the mean while we have to protect the veggie plants from the cold nights.

Beds ... we stripped the "light" linens from all 7 of the beds, flipped mattresses, and then remade each one with flannel sheets and heavy blankets. It is safe to say that ALL residents of Beck's Bounty LOVE their flannel sheets --- it is agreed that they just make the bed so cozy to climb into on a chilly night. (Also worthy of note -- Cherub 6 moved from his toddler bed into a twin bed for the first time -- he looks SOOOO tiny in that big bed now. HA !)

Today, we are touching up the paint on all of the exterior doors and doorways. We are removing spots from the carpet, and we are applying those insulator pads to the backs of all of the switches and outlets in the house. We are also painting the Guest bathroom. this afternoon, DadToCherubs is going to show everyone how to check the fluid levels and filters and tire pressure on both of our cars this afternoon.

We decorated both mantels with pumpkins, leaves, and other "autumn" accents. We also have plans to make a scarecrow at some point this week -- with a flannel shirt, some old jeans, and straw stuffing.

And our final "Life Skills" project for THIS week will be the putting away of the summer clothing, and getting out the winter clothing including hats, gloves, and coats. This is an enormous project, as you can guess, for such a big family. We are planning this for Friday. Once we have sorted the clothing and put it away, we will have a good solid list of "needs" for winter, which we will take on a shopping trip we have planned for the first weekend in November. This shopping trip will entail many "life skill" discussions -- how to "fit" clothing properly, quantity vs quality, budgeting, brands, materials, and more.

We have one more project planned, but have to wait for a Big City trip .... the plan is to make heavy curtains for all of the HUGE windows in this house (right now there are light sheers on nearly every window). The fabric stores are not close by. So when we go "shopping", we will also get yards (and yards and yards - HA !) of fabric to make our winter curtains. Everyone plans to help make them -- as Cherub 1 and Cherub 3 duly noted, "Who needs to spend $20-50 per panel when they can be made for a fraction of the price ?!?!?" (well said boys !)

It is such an incredible blessing to be able to share these projects with our children as part of our homeschooling. We have a great time working together, and as a parent it is comforting to know that someday not too far away our children will be better prepared (skill-wise) to be homeowners than DadToCherubs and I were. I dare say we might be raising more Do-It-Yourself'ers. (HA !)

On Monday, we will get back into our "formal" school work again, and will be warmer and toastier for our efforts. And someday, the children will repeat this process in their own homes, having the skills necessary ... having worked through so many "handicrafts" projects (Charlotte Mason style !) ... what a blessing !

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Maze

On Sunday afternoon we went to the Mason-Mayfield Corn Maze.

We divided into 2 groups -- the 3 younger children walked the maze with DadToCherubs and I. And the 3 "big" Cherubs set off together to strike their own path.

Well, the 3 "big" Cherubs challenged us to a race -- to see who could find each of the 6 "stops" (for answers to 6 trivia questions) first. We all entered the small maze (3 acres, I think) together. And we wandered ... and wandered ... and twisted and turned .... having a grand time. In our group, the younger children took turns being The Leader while DadToCherubs and I followed. We occassionally caught sight of the Big Kids, scurrying this way and that ... they seemed a bit "pressured" to WIN, but were laughing and smiling whenever we saw them.

Of course, the younger children were so enjoying the maze that they almost forgot the contest completely --- and in their enjoyment, they managed to stumble across every "stop".

So, our group answered the trivia questions together by a majority vote, punched our papers (shaped paper punches to "show" we found the "stop") and continued on our way.

We had agreed in the beginning that once a party found all of the "stops", they should exit the maze (if they could find the exit - there is only one exit for each maze !) and proceed to the "Fire Pit" (a bon fire) to sit and wait -- the first party Fireside would be the winners.

After finding stop #6, DadToCherubs, Cherub 6, Cherub 5, Cherub 4, and I finally managed to exit the maze, deciding that next we would get something cool to drink. We assumed we would find the big kids waiting by the fire ....

However , when we arrived fireside, there were NO big kids to be seen.

Believe it or not, the Little Kids managed to find all of the stops first. THEY WON !!! (and were THRILLED with their accomplishment too !)

After enjoying a drink fireside, the 3 big kids went on to find their way through the BIG maze (8 acres as I recall), while the Little Kids went with Mom and Dad to play some of the other games (pedal tractors to ride, a bean-bag-toss, and more).

After the big kids finished the Big Maze, we went for a lovely hayride past some of the biggest gardens we have seen in a long time -- we saw purple basil & other herbs, tomato vines, pumpkins, okra, and more still growing. And we saw rows and rows of newly planted strawberries. Cherub 6 commented, "Whoever weeds that big garden must earn A WHOLE LOT of computer time !" HA !! (This farm has a rather busy produce stand, for which they grow their own produce.)

Just before leaving, we returned to the bonfire to have a delicious snack. And while we were eating our snacks, one of the Maze Attendants explained to us HOW they create this maze year after year in a new design. Truly fascinating !

THANK YOU DadToCherubs for a lovely afternoon !!
And, THANK YOU Mayfield's for a wonderful maze !!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Funny Moment

As part of our Tapestry of Grace Ancient History curriculum, we are finishing our study of the Tabernacle, and we are beginning a study (in depth) of the Mosaic Law.
Today was our Weekly History Lecture. Our older children take notes, and the younger children just listen. Then, after the lecture, we begin a series of discussions on various topics and elements of study for the week. These discussions tie together our projects, our readings, and the components of the lecture. And it is often in these discussions that the "wheels" start really turning round and round in the children's minds.
So, today we were discussing the Tabernacle. And then our discussion led to a long discussion of The Mosaic Law. (There were many lightbulb moments !!) We were discussing the "fulfillment" of the law, and how after the Resurrection many people decided that the Mosaic Law did not apply at all. We discussed what parts of the law still apply, whether the Feasts fell under the law, and why or why not people honor those Biblical Feasts. It was a quite lively discussion !!
When we were finished with today's discussions, to summarize and close I said, "With study, perhaps you can determine for yourself what part, if any, of the Law no longer applies. And in that study maybe you can also find what parts of the Law we might remain under even today."
Cherub 6 had been busy coloring throughout most of the discussion after the Tabernacle. He was listening, but appeared to be more absorbed in his coloring. Suddenly, he raised his hand, dancing around on his knees with excitement, smiling from ear to ear ... saying OH OH, I KNOW ... I KNOW ...
In response to his excitement I said (smiling) "Cherub 6, do you know what part of the Law might still apply to us even today ?"
And he VERY confidently answered ....
(I love these precious homeschool moments, don't you ?!?!)

The Last Debate ...

... is on tonight.
Click below for details, and be sure to tune in !!
Please continue to pray for our Nation,
and for this election ...
because these are trying times.
We pray that God's Will be done.

Monday, October 13, 2008

On Our Hearts

If my people, which are called by my name shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal. (2 Chronicles 7:14)

We have been watching the poles. We have been listening to the speeches and debates. We are continuing to investigate the issues.
We are praying that the citizens of our great Nation take this Election Year very seriously. We pray that they remain focused on the "real" issues and not on the biased voices of the media.
It is clear to us that "truth" is not prevailing just now (in the media). People are desperate for change ... but not all "change" is good. There are no easy answers for the troubles our nation is facing; there are no quick fixes or pat answers. We collectively need to turn our eyes and hearts to God, as our founding fathers did ... it is only with His guidance and His wisdom that we can prosper and succeed.
All of the elections matter ... from the smallest town police departments and mayors, to the state governors and state congressional members, to the halls of Congress, and all the way to the White House.

Every single voice matters ... every single vote counts.

It is a wonderful blessing that our family can discuss daily all of the "happenings" ... that in their young years, our children can recognize that they have a voice, and we can inspire in them the sincere desire to use their voice.

"One nation, under God ..."

Sunday, October 12, 2008

His Love

(photo borrowed - found online)


O the deep, deep love of Jesus, vast, unmeasured, boundless, free!
Rolling as a mighty ocean in its fullness over me!
Underneath me, all around me, is the current of Thy love
Leading onward, leading homeward to Thy glorious rest above!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, spread His praise from shore to shore!
How He loveth, ever loveth, changeth never, nevermore!
How He watches o’er His loved ones, died to call them all His own;
How for them He intercedeth, watcheth o’er them from the throne!

O the deep, deep love of Jesus, love of every love the best!
’Tis an ocean full of blessing, ’tis a haven giving rest!
O the deep, deep love of Jesus, ’tis a heaven of heavens to me;
And it lifts me up to glory, for it lifts me up to Thee!

Words: S. Trevor Francis (1875)
Music: Thomas J. Williams (1890)

Listen here:

Saturday, October 11, 2008

She Shoots ....

... she scores ...
... 7 times
(plus one more but it did not count because she was called off-sides.) Way to go, Cherub 5 !!
(And just in case you did not know,
scoring more than 5 goals in a game means
we get to go to McDonald's afterwards.)

Friday, October 10, 2008

Upon Waking ...

... this passage was going through my mind ...
Psalm 51:10-12

10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. 11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
And this song:

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Please Pray With Us

Praying Hands (Albrecht Durer)

-- For Mrs. H who left Tuesday for Ohio, to have heart surgery today (which began at 11:20am according to her daughter, and is to last "1 to 6 hours"). Pray for those family members who are in Ohio to be with Mrs. H at the clinic / hospital. Please pray for her doctors and the staff caring for Mrs. H. And finally, please please pray for her children and for her in-laws that are home together, waiting for her return. (surgery finished Wednesday evening)

THURSDAY UPDATE: Mrs. H's daughter said "I just talked to Mom and she sounds good. She didnt sleep real great last night cuase the doctors and nurses came in every so often and that kept her up. But Aunt Betty and Uncle Bob have wonderful beds so she'll prob. sleep well there. i hope so! "

FRIDAY UPDATE: We have it on good authority that Mrs. H is at her Aunt's home, and that she slept peacefully all day yesterday without need of medications. WOOOO HOOOO !! Thanks be to God !! We are going to continue to pray for healing and rest for Mrs. H, and we know she covets your prayers as well !

MONDAY UPDATE: HAPPY NEWS !! Mrs. H is at home, resting and recovering. And her family is thrilled to have her home again !! Please continue to pray for her recovery, and for a lot of much-needed rest. Also, please be sure to give Thanks to God for the fantastic doctors and nurses that cared for her in Ohio.

-- For DadToCherubs who is having frequent nasty headaches, and whose blood pressure is high despite oral medications. DadToCherubs went to see his family doctor this afternoon with another nasty headache and with his BP still high. Please pray for DadToCherubs, and for Dr. TC.

THURSDAY UPDATE: DadToCherubs got meds for a migraine, and he is going to have some lab work done. Also his blood pressure medicine does has been increased. He feels a bit better this morning, but still has a dull headache. Please continue to pray for him.

FRIDAY UPDATE: DadToCherubs no longer has a headache (HOORAY !), and it seems his blood pressure is coming down slowly to a more normal range with the help of medication. Stress is not something that DadToCherubs usually deals with (he is normally a stree-free guy who just goes with the flow), but currently he is a bit stressed about a project (repairs from a mega-virus on one of his sites), and also because of the economy (tough times for banks and technology companies translates into a rough time regarding job security). Please pray for him ... for his health ... and for relief from this stress. In the mean while, he has a "long weekend" ahead ... pray that he RESTS (which is something he is NOT good at doing, even when he really needs to !).

MONDAY UPDATE: DadToCherubs has not had a headache in several days, and his blood pressure is stable and in a normal range again. HOORAY !! After a long weekend off from work, he also caught up on some much needed rest. We are so thankful to God for the blessing of a great family physician who cared for DadToCherubs this past week. (And we covet your prayers that DadToCherubs can win the battle against his "love" of soda !)

-- For MamaBirdie who is due to give birth to the newest birdie sometime later this month.

UPDATE: No news yet; the due date is October 25th (I think) so we still have a bit of time to wait.

-- For Mrs. B who is expecting (2nd trimester). And give Thanks that she is feeling "human" again after a first trimester filled with morning sickness (or rather nearly-all-day sickness) and severe nausea.

UPDATE: In her own words

-- For our friend Pris who is away for her Freshman Year of college, and is a bit homesick.

UPDATE: We have heard that Priscilla is adjusting to college life, and is getting more rest, and overall is doing better. Thanks be to God !

-- For Great Grammy, that her eye will be healed and her sight restored (infection following cataract surgery).

FRIDAY UPDATE: We have it on good authority that Great Grammy's eye is healing, and that all signs of infection are gone. So, the doctors are pretty confident that with a bit more time her vision will be restored completely. Praise the Lord !

Monday, October 06, 2008


Today for lunch, we are going to keep it SIMPLE. Some sliced fresh fruit, and Ritz Crackers with Lynn's Cheese Blogs ... yummy !!

Lynn's Cheese Blogs
12 oz cream cheese
12 oz sharp cheddar, grated (I like extra sharp white cheddar)
12 oz medium cheddar, grated
1 T + 1 tsp Lea & Perrin's Worcestershire Sauce
1/2 to 1 tsp garlic powder (to taste), or 1-3 cloves minced fresh garlic
*2 tsp paprika
pecans, finely chopped

Note: These cheese amounts are very forgiving -- if you have a little more or less on hand, just go with it. It will still love you. Kraft Cracker Barrel cheeses work beautifully for this, though I usually try to buy the big economical blocks of Tillamook at Costco or Sam's.

If you're using a food processor, first chop the pecans and set aside; wipe out the workbowl with a paper towel.

Next, if you're using fresh garlic, drop it down the processor tube and mince fine, then add the cream cheese and Lea & Perrins sauce and blend till smooth.

Transfer to a mixing bowl (one big enough to hold the big mess of grated cheese you're about to create) -- sort of plop it off to one side because you might want to spoon some of it back into the processor in a few minutes (you'll see).

Now fit your processor with a grater disc and grate all the cheddar, transferring the batches to the mixing bowl as you go.

Here you can give yourself a little headstart on all the stirring by spooning the cream cheese mixture back into the processor (put the chopping blade back on first!) with a cup or two of the grated cheese; pulse a few times to mix.

After that, I dump it all in the big mixing bowl and get my hands in there and work it till it's thoroughly mixed.

Form the mixture into logs of a length that will fit on your serving platter, and sprinkle them lightly with the paprika -- this is optional but it makes it all so pretty.

Roll the blogs in the chopped nuts till thoroughly coated, then wrap them up tight, first in wax paper and then in foil. Then I usually put them in ziplocks to keep out moisture -- overkill perhaps, but hey, good cheese is precious to me.

The Cheese Blogs will keep in the refrigerator for longer than you'll need them to.

*I love fresh garlic, but even I use garlic powder here if the logs aren't going to be polished off within a few days, because raw garlic becomes practically flourescent in these things after three or four days in the frig. Oh, and do NOT use garlic salt!

Recipe Courtesy of (THANK YOU !)

Praying For Rain

We have not had a drop of rain in over 9 weeks. Needless to say, the "green" outside is turning rather dull and brown'ish. And the dust ---- oh the dust is AWFUL. While walking down to the pond, we noticed that the grass actually "crinkles" and nearly "crumbles as you walk on it, making tiny crackling noises.

Our garden is nearly finished, but we have managed to keep the brocolli plants and our green peppers going with the aid of a sprinkler. Our cauliflower plants did not make it -- the soil was just too dry for them, even with use of the sprinker daily. And we have not planted our lettuce or spinach seeds; we had hoped to get a good quenching rain or two before putting them in.

Well, it looks like we have a 60% chance of rain for Wednesday, and then a 40% chance on Thursday.

Please join us in praying that this rain arrives ... and quenches our "parched" land.

UPDATE Monday 8:06pm -- the chance of rain for Tuesday night is now 40%. And the chance of rain for Wednesday is now 70%, with a 40% chance overnight Wednesday night. Please keep praying !!

UPDATE Tuesday 10:04am -- the chance of rain tonight (Tuesday) is still at 40%. But for Wednesday, we now have an 80% chance of HEAVY rain, and then a 50% chance for more rain Wednesday night. So please keep praying !! We soooooo need this rain !!

UPDATE Tuesday 8:15pm -- IT'S RAINING HERE. It is a soft gentle rain so far, but according to the radar there is a lot more coming this way tomorrow. YAHOOOO !! THANK YOU LORD !!

UPDATE Thursday morning: THE RAIN CAME. Actually, a full inch of rain fell ... and overnight everything "green'ed up" again, and we noticed that our Maples have begun to change their colors for Autumn.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

The Fifth Commandment For All Ages

R.C. Sproul (author) and Pastor James MacDonald (Peoria, IL) were guests recently on Moody Radio: Prime Time America. In case you missed it, here is a link so that you can listen to their program.

"As children, most of us memorized the 10 Commandments, but as we get older, we sometimes have a hard time remembering what they are. "

This broadcast(s) looks at what exactly the Fifth Commandment means for "adult" children. (And in case your Ten Commandments are rusty, the Fifth Commandment says "Honor thy Father and thy Mother.")

(Thank you to for the above info.)

DadToCherubs, our Cherubs, and I have been listening to several Audio CDs from Vision Forum (below) this week that are also along these lines, only focusing on the Child Training years rather than the adult years.

What To Expect From A Twelve Year Old & The Influence Of Older Children On Younger Children

We soooo appreciate biblical guidance such as these speakers provide -- clear, concise, to-the-point, BIBLICAL counsel. DadToCherubs and I, however, often "wish" we had had access to these (and a heart for it as well) longggg ago ... sayyyyy ... 14 1/2 years ago ? Alas, our hearts have changed with God's Grace and time, and the resources are available now.

It is never too late, right ?!?!

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Habit Training

Charlotte Mason said, "We are not unwilling to make efforts in the beginning with the assurance that by-and-by things will go smoothly; and this is just what habit is, in an extraordinary degree, pledged to effect. The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days; while she who lets their habits take care of themselves has a weary life of endless friction with the children." (Vol. 1, p. 136)

Simply Charlotte Mason is beginning a series called Habit Training. Please check here to subscribe.

Here are some other quotes from Charlotte Mason concerning Habit Training:

"The habits of the child produce the character of the man, because certain mental habitudes once set up, their nature is to go on forever unless they should be displaced by other habis. Here is an end to the easy philosophy of, 'It doesn't matter,' 'Oh, he'll grow out of it,' "He'll know better by and by,' 'He's so young, what can we expect?' and so on. Every day, every hour, the parents are either passively or actively forming those habits in their children upon which, more than upon anything else, future character and conduct depend." (Vol.I, p.118)

"Educate the child in right habits and the man's life will run in them, without the constant wear and tear of the moral effort of decision. once, twice, three times in a day, he will still, no doubt, have to choose between the highest and the less high, the best and the less good course. But all the minor moralities of life may be made habitual to him. He has been brought up to be courteous, prompt, punctual, neat, considerate; and he practises these virtues without conscious effort. It is much easier to behave in the way he is used to, than to originate a new line of conduct." (Vol. 2, p.124)

"The mother who takes pains to endow her children with good habits secures for herself smooth and easy days.Consider how laborious life would be were its wheels not greased by habits of cleanliness, neatness, order courtesy; had we to make the effort of decision about every detail of dressing and eating, coming and going, life would not be worth living.Every cottaeg mother knows that she must train her child in habits of decency, and a whole code of habit causes a shock to others which few children have courage to face. Physical fitness, morals and manners, are very largely the outcome of habit; and not only so, but the habits of the religious life also become fixed and delightful and give us dues support in the effort to live a godly, righteous and sober life." (Vol 6, p. 103)

"In conclusion, let me say that the education of habit is successful in so far as it enables the mother to let her children alone, not teasing them with perpetual commands and directions--a running fire of Do and Don't; but letting them go their own way and grow, having first secured that they will go the right way, and grow to fruitful purpose. The gardener, it is true, 'digs about and dungs,' prunes and trains, his peach tree; but that occupies a small fraction of the tree's life: all the rest of the time the sweet airs and sunshine, the rains and dews, play about it and breathe upon it, get into its substance, and the result is --peaches. But let the gardener neglect his part, and the peaches will be no better than sloes." (Vol 1, p 134)

"In many cases, the natural consequence of the child's fault is precisely that which it is [the mother's] business to avert, while, at the same time, she looks about for some consequence related to the fault which shall have an educative bearing on the child: for instance, if a boy neglects his studies, the natural consequence is that he remains ignorant.; but to allow him to do so would be criminal neglect on the part of the parent." (Vol. 1, pp. 148, 149).

"Whether habits are planned and created conscientiously, or allowed to be haphazardly filled in by chance, they are habits all the same. Habit rules ninety-nine percent of everything we do." (Vol 1, page 110)

"Habits of mind become physical reality on brain tissue and that's why habit is so powerful. It isn't all in the mind, it's physical, too." (Vol 1, page 114)

"It takes a few weeks of work to build a new habit. Once the habit is in place, it must be guarded diligently to prevent a reversion to the old ways, but keeping watch is not stressful or difficult once the new habit is secure." (Vol 1, page 121)

"One last word about habit--the point of training children to have good habits is so that they'll do things without being nagged or scolded. Then the mother isn't constantly chasing them down with a barrage of commands and reminders. She can leave them alone to thrive in their own way once habit has secured a boundary for them to grow in." (Vol 1, page 134)

Charlotte Mason's methods have been an integral part of our homeschool, and her "ideas" about children and homeschooling have made an immense impact on my life as a mother and a homeschool "teacher". Her counsel has changed our course many times, and I count her amoung the many blessings God has bestowed upon us.

And now, while we are gathered together again daily for "school", we will begin again to focus intensely on the Habits of our family and the Habits we hold individually. We are called to be "in" the world, but not "of" it. We are called to be a Light. And as children of Our Lord, we need to instill in ourselves (and in our families) good Habits not only for childhood or adolescense, but for life. To be holy, to be righteous ... as we are called to be.

Please pray for us as we go about this adventure, again ...

** The above quotes were collected online from various Charlotte Mason / AO sources in an effort to save my eyes from going over page after tatered page of Miss Mason's series, again. BTW - Miss Mason's series is well worth reading and can be found in it's original form here and a modern english "translation" can be found here.